Health benefits of primary care social work for adults with complex health and social needs: a systematic review

McGregor, J., Mercer, S. W. and Harris, F. M. (2018) Health benefits of primary care social work for adults with complex health and social needs: a systematic review. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(1), pp. 1-13. (doi:10.1111/hsc.12337) (PMID:27059167)

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The prevalence of complex health and social needs in primary care patients is growing. Furthermore, recent research suggests that the impact of psychosocial distress on the significantly poorer health outcomes in this population may have been underestimated. The potential of social work in primary care settings has been extensively discussed in both health and social work literature and there is evidence that social work interventions in other settings are particularly effective in addressing psychosocial needs. However the evidence base for specific improved health outcomes related to primary care social work is minimal. This review aimed to identify and synthesise the available evidence on the health benefits of social work interventions in primary care settings. Nine electronic databases were searched from 1990-2015 and seven primary research studies retrieved. Due to the heterogeneity of studies, a narrative synthesis was conducted. Although there is no definitive evidence for effectiveness, results suggest a promising role for primary care social work interventions in improving health outcomes. These include subjective health measures and self-management of long term conditions, reducing psychosocial morbidity and barriers to treatment and health maintenance. Although few rigorous study designs were found, the contextual detail and clinical settings of studies provide evidence of the practice applicability of social work intervention. Emerging policy on the integration of health and social care may provide an opportunity to develop this model of care.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mercer, Professor Stewart
Authors: McGregor, J., Mercer, S. W., and Harris, F. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:Health and Social Care in the Community
ISSN (Online):1365-2524
Published Online:05 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Health and Social Care in the Community 26(1):1-13
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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